in the KNOW

October 21, 2016

election-2016Oppose Prop 55 – Measure Extends Income Tax Hikes

Ag Council’s Board of Directors recently voted to oppose Prop 55, which extends the temporary personal income tax rate increases approved by voters in 2012 for the purpose of funding education and health care.

The higher personal income tax rates are a result of Prop 30 approved by voters in 2012 as temporary and scheduled to expire at the end of the 2018 tax year. Prop 55 extends the taxes through 2030. Specifically, Prop 55 affects those with earnings over $250,000 for single filers, more than $500,000 for joint filers and over $340,000 for heads of household.

When the electorate approved the temporary tax hike back in 2012, California was in the midst of a severe recession. However, the urgent fiscal circumstances that led to Prop 30 four years ago do not exist today, and California now has in excess of a $2.7 billion surplus and continues to grow its Rainy Day Fund, a state budget reserve projected to reach over $9 billion by 2018.

With the state in better fiscal health, it is not necessary to extend the temporary taxes beyond the 2018 tax year. Further, state revenue from personal income taxes is unstable and is greatly reduced during a recession, so it is not a reliable source of revenue.

For these reasons, Ag Council urges members to oppose Prop 55, which allows the temporary taxes to end at the conclusion of the 2018 tax year, as originally intended.

To learn more about the Prop 55 opposition effort, click HERE.

CDFA Accepting Specialty Crop Grant Applications

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting proposals for the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). Phase I of the two-phase competitive process is underway to accept applications for projects enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops in California.

The Phase I deadline for applicants to submit concept proposals is November 15. Successful applicants in Phase I are invited to participate in Phase II and submit a detailed grant proposal.

CDFA is offering workshops in October to provide an overview of the program, demonstrate the online system and offer grant writing tips. Details about the upcoming workshops in Merced and Sacramento, as well as a webinar, are available via the “Learn More” link below.

Grant awardees in 2016 include projects to increase sales of specialty crops by: leveraging the California Grown identity; increasing consumption through expansion of the consumer market; improving availability and providing nutritional education for consumers; training growers to equip them for current and future challenges; and conducting research on conservation and environmental outcomes, pest control and disease, and organic and sustainable production practices.

Applicants for the 2017 grants must register online with the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) available via this link: https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov. Concept proposals must be submitted electronically using FAAST by 5 p.m. on November 15, 2016.

Further details are available on CDFA’s website by clicking HERE.